twitter RSS Feed linkedin acp contact

Sustainable fruit at the heart of South African blueberry drive

South African blueberry growers are stepping up their promotional drive in Germany by highlighting the quality and sustainability credentials of their fruit

berries za 10 FebSouth Africa expects to ship some 3,000 tonnes to Germany this season. (Image source: Berries ZA)

South Africa expects to ship some 3,000 tonnes to Germany this season, and while this only represents a small volume of the country’s exports to the EU, there are long-term ambitions to boost its share of the market. The country’s advantageous location makes it an attractive option for retail buyers looking to source fruit with a lower air and sea footprint, and the raft of sustainability initiatives taking place on farms mean South African blueberries are the ideal choice for the modern, conscious consumer.

Blueberries have grown hugely in popularity in recent years, with shoppers attracted to their taste, convenience and health qualities as a ‘superfood’. 

“There are amazing varieties coming out of South Africa,” said Elzette Schutte, manager for industry association Berries South Africa (Berries ZA). “They have good size, the quality is exceptional, and they have a beautifully sweet taste. The climate makes the fruit very consistent, so consumers get the same quality experience each time.”

Their story comes as a sustainability drive across South Africa’s blueberry farms addresses consumers’ desire for fruit produced in a socially and environmentally conscious manner. Growers have signed up to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and a number of projects are taking place across farms, including the use of renewable energy, reforestation strategies, biodiversity growth, and the implementation of detailed waste-reduction and recycling programmes.

The campaign will be visible throughout the season and in the run up to the Fruit Logistica trade show in Berlin, where Berries ZA will be on hand to meet key industry contacts and develop new relationships.

On the social side, a series of projects are taking place to enhance the lives of local farm communities. These include the Ernita Sewing enterprise, which provides sanitary products for women and girls who do not have access to them; on-site nurses at 13 production facilities to help engender better physical and emotional wellbeing; support for schools through financial contributions and kitchen-building projects; and the OZblu Academy, which provides both in-person and online educational opportunities.

Many individual suppliers are pioneering their own projects as part of their commitments to social enterprise. “We run projects on several farms in collaboration with retailers and the growers themselves, aimed at uplifting and supporting the communities from which the farm workers come,” explained Stefan Viljoen, sales manager at BerryWorld SA. 

It all ties into the overarching industry goal to produce top-quality products in harmony with the environment and its people. “Sustainability is no longer about doing less harm, it’s about doing more good,” concluded Schutte. “These projects have a positive impact on the lives of people on the farm, as well as improving the environmental and social impact of the fruit that is grown. We know these issues are important to German consumers, who can be assured that when they buy and consume delicious South African blueberries that they are choosing fruit that have been produced with the utmost thought and care.”


LATEST NEWS IN Horticulture

Global fava bean protein market projected at US$85.6mn by 2032

Global fava bean protein market projecte…

The global fava bean protein market is projected to expand at a steady annual growth rate of 4.2% to be valued at US$85.6mn by 2032, according to market research provider...

Pest management restores Africa’s mango markets

Pest management restores Africa’s mango …

The Alien Invasive Fruit Flies project in Southern Africa, supported by the International Development Research Centre and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, has come up with five technologies...

Sustainable fruit at the heart of South African blueberry drive

Sustainable fruit at the heart of South …

South African blueberry growers are stepping up their promotional drive in Germany by highlighting the quality and sustainability credentials of their fruit

Fruit breeding, the answer to climate change?

Fruit breeding, the answer to climate ch…

Dr Chris Owens, IFG's lead plant breeder, speaks with Tulana Nayak from African Farming, about the challenges of fruit breeding and what the future holds.

South African campaign targets UK consumers with excellent plum quality

South African campaign targets UK consum…

South African plum growers have reported excellent crop quality this season as they look to inspire UK consumers to choose their fruit

Morocco to record a 12% rise in citrus fruit production

Morocco to record a 12% rise in citrus f…

Citrus fruit production in Morocco is expected to reach an estimated 2.55 mmt in 2021/2022, registering a 12% rise from the previous period

Prev Next

OTHER RELATED ARTICLES - Horticulture

Rwanda and Israel sign MoU to boost horticulture

Rwanda and Israel sign MoU to boost hort…

Rwanda has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Israel to help improve horticulture in the country through the establishment of an agriculture excellence centre

Fruit breeding, the answer to climate change?

Fruit breeding, the answer to climate ch…

Dr Chris Owens, IFG's lead plant breeder, speaks with Tulana Nayak from African Farming, about the challenges of fruit breeding and what the future holds.

AfTra and CBI team up to help African exports

AfTra and CBI team up to help African ex…

A new online tool has been developed to provide vital European market information to African exporters

Hydrofarm launches PHOTOBIO•TX and PHOTOBIO•T linear top lights

Hydrofarm launches PHOTOBIO•TX and PHOTO…

Hydrofarm Holdings Group, an independent wholesaler and manufacturer of hydroponics equipment and commercial horticultural products, has launched PHOTOBIO•TX and PHOTOBIO•T linear top lights — the newest additions to the Phantom...

Kenyan shilling falls with farming productivity

Kenyan shilling falls with farming produ…

Market traders are eyeing central bank action after the Kenyan shilling hit a three-year low

Zimbabwe tobacco seed in high demand

Zimbabwe tobacco seed in high demand

Almost a tonne of tobacco seed has been sold in Zimbabwe as demand for the commodity continues to increase, the Tobacco Research Board (TRB) revealed

World Bank issues grant to Kenyan coffee farmers

World Bank issues grant to Kenyan coffee…

Coffee farmers in the Mount Elgon District, located in the Western Province of Kenya, have received nearly US$60,000 funding from the World Bank 

Horticulture industry blooming in Ethiopia

Horticulture industry blooming in Ethiop…

Ethiopia has transformed its flower sector from a tiny sector into a US$200 million cut flowers export business within a span of 10 years

Bloom period for flower farmers in Kenya

Bloom period for flower farmers in Kenya

Smallholder flower farming is set to be a rapidly growing market in Kenya, says Agriculture Secretary Wilson Songa

Quality SA Sultana from South Africa key to growing demand in UK

Quality SA Sultana from South Africa key…

As the retailer and wholesaler demand for sultanas in the UK is currently rising due to their competitive pricing and good quality, the South African raisin industry is taking advantage...

Liberian senate gives go-ahead to US$11mn cocoa agreement

Liberian senate gives go-ahead to US$11m…

The Liberian senate has backed a US$11mn agreement entered between the Liberian government and the Liberia Cocoa Corporation (LCC)

FarmVisionAI releases mobile app for in-field artificial intelligence

FarmVisionAI releases mobile app for in-…

Agriculture AI company FarmVisionAI has released a mobile app designed to engage growers in-field with vision AI stress detections

Prev Next